Noel Betowski: Growing up as an artist in Thurrock

Noel Betowski is an artist born in Tilbury and now operating out of Cornwall, who creates incredible large form abstract works. He has exhibited both as a part of a group and solo countless times, and now paints full time. His art echoes the religious symbolism and illuminations typically found in early Medieval Bible manuscripts, but with a maturity, modernity and vast scale afforded to the artist by the thousand-plus years since these icons began to emerge in the West.  
You can find Noel’s portfolio here
We asked Noel about his early life in Thurrock, and how that affected his development into a successful professional artist.

I was born in Southview Avenue Tilbury in 1952. My Father was Polish and Mother half Irish and I attended St Thomas’s School in Gray’s where I found that my best subject was Art, at the age of 6 or 7 one of the Nuns put a painting of mine into the Orsett Show and I won first prize which gave me the first taste of success in a very small way. Much later at secondary school in Tilbury the art teachers were very encouraging and Art College was suggested. I was quite determined even at the age of 15 or 16 and I managed to go to Thurrock Technical College in the evenings to paint and draw, I was too young to pay so they allowed me in for free! After leaving school with a few CSE certificates I enrolled into the Art Foundation Course at Thurrock Tech and from there I was accepted on to the BA painting Course at The Central School of Art in London in 1973. I still use themes from growing up in Thurrock in my work, particularly boats and ships, hard to say if anything else had a direct influence on me but I do feel that the mix of culture from around the world and in my family have contributed to the images in my paintings.